Tue | Aug 4, 2020

Thousands protest in Berlin against coronavirus restrictions

Published:Saturday | August 1, 2020 | 10:41 AM
Thousands march along the 'Friedrichstrasse' during the demonstration against corona measures in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, August 1, 2020. The initiative "Querdenken 711" has called for this. The motto of the demonstration is "The end of the pandemic - Freedom Day". (Christoph Soeder/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Thousands protested Germany’s coronavirus restrictions Saturday in a Berlin demonstration that insisted “the end of the pandemic” has arrived — a declaration that comes just as authorities are voicing increasing concerns about an uptick in new infections.

With few masks in sight, a dense crowd marched through downtown Berlin from the Brandenburg Gate.

Protesters who came from across the country held up homemade signs with slogans like “Corona, false alarm,” “We are being forced to wear a muzzle,” “Natural defense instead of vaccination” and “We are the second wave.”

They chanted, “We’re here and we’re loud, because we are being robbed of our freedom!”

Police used bullhorns to chide participants to adhere to social distancing rules and to wear masks, apparently with little success.

They tweeted that they drew up a criminal complaint against the rally’s organiser for failing to enforce hygiene rules, then said shortly afterward that the organiser had ended the march.

Police estimated that about 17,000 people turned out.

The demonstrators were kept apart from counterprotesters, some chanting “Nazis out!”

Protests against anti-virus restrictions in Germany have long drawn a variety of attendees, including conspiracy theorists and right-wing populists.

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